President Ramaphosa pays tribute to Shinzo Abe

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President Cyril Ramaphosa has sent his condolences to the family of former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe as well as the government and people of Japan.

Abe was shot in the city of Nara where he was on the campaign trail ahead of the senate election on Sunday.

Authorities have arrested one suspect who is believed to have masterminded the incident. Abe was airlifted to hospital and suffered cardiac arrest.

Ramaphosa says the violence that claimed the former Prime Minister’s life is a call on all to work for non-violence, peace and tolerance in all parts of the globe. He says he’s privileged to have had a close association with Abe.

President Ramaphosa recalled the productive interactions with the former Prime Minister during his visit to Japan in 2015. He says they made significant progress in strengthening bilateral relations, especially in the economic sphere, as well as South Africa’s cooperation with Japan in addressing issues on the global agenda.

‘A pioneer of economic development’

Meanwhile, South Africa’s Ambassador to Japan, Smuts Ngonyama says the African continent has lost a pioneer of economic development following the passing of Japan’s former Prime Minister.

Abe served two terms before stepping down in 2020, citing ill health.

Ngonyama says Abe took students from the African continent to learn valuable skills in Japan. He says the motor industry also lost a person with great ideas.

“He initiated the process of JET and the programmes which are employing a number of students and others from Africa and South Africa in particular about 108 of them. And that they have come over to Japan to work and educate people in the international language of English. He has given so much opportunities with regard to the ABE programme. The Africa education programme that is initiated within the TIGAD.”

VIDEO | SA’s ambassador to Japan Smuts Ngonyama pays tribute to the late ex-Japan prime minister Shinzo Abe: